Travel by Swiss Train

Enjoy a one hour ride through Switzerland from the conductor’s point of view. 

Wednesday HDRs – Trains

HDR processing seems to work well on things that take you places, so today here are six trains. The top two are from Havana, the middle two are Finnish trains, one from the town of Kouvola, the other a tourist train along Helsinki’s waterfront, the fifth train is from the platform in Spiez, Switzerland and at bottom, it’s a city tram in Milan, Italy.

All were tonemapped in Photomatix and finished in various versions of Photoshop with various iterations of Nik software. Click any to see a bigger version, and here are about 500 HDR photos from

One other thing, just a reminder: may look and act a little strange over the next week or two as we move to a new format. Please be gentle as we work out the bugs.







World Transport – Wednesday HDRs



 Taken from the train platform in Spiez, a little town on the Thunersee, between Interlaken and Thun, in Switzerland.


 The mercado in Addia Ababa, Ethiopia. They call it the world's largest outdoor market and it really is huge. It's blocks and blocks and blocks both long and wide.


 Out in the countryside in St. Helena, a British territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Kind of frozen in time.


 Along the side of the road in rural Uganda.


Fremantle, the port near Perth, on Australia's Indian Ocean coast.

All these HDRs come from Nikon cameras and were processed in Photomatix with Nik filters, and finished in Photoshop CS4 & CS5. There are currently 390 HDRs in the HDR Gallery at

Trains Get the Treatment: Wednesday HDR

These four train photos came back from an August trip, and we put 'em through the Photomatix mill. First two are tourisy/kiddie trains, the top on the waterfront in Helsinki, where the "party boats" leave nightly for Stockholm (note the Silja Line ship in the back), and the next one (with a sleeping driver) is an irritating little train that will keep getting in your way as you walk through the old town in Tallinn, Estonia.




Both ways, coming and going from the lovely little Alpine town of Mürren (pictures in the Switzerland Gallery) we had to change in Speiz, a town on the Thunersee that I know nothing about beyond its train platform. With ten minutes of dead time, why not haul out the Nikon and see what you can come up with?



The work flow is pretty much the same for all of them. First fixing obvious problems in Photoshop Bridge, then tonemapping in Photomatix, then the bottom three all involve extracting one or more objects in Photoshop CS5, desaturating the rest of the image, and then recombining. The bottom uses a Duplex filter from Nik Software, too.

These are in their respective countries' galleries (Finland, Estonia, Switzerland) at, and in the HDR Gallery, currently home to 279 HDR photos. Click 'em to make 'em bigger.

Panorama: Switzerland


Panorama of the Bernese Alps from Murren, Switzerland. The lights at the distant left are the village of Lauterbrunnen. The snowy peak on the left is Mt. Eiger (3970 meters, or 13025 feet). You can make this much bigger or really huge.

Farmhouse HDR, Switzerland


In the Alpine village of Murren.

Travel Day

More about Belarus (top) as soon as we decide a little better what to think about it. For now, we've just arrived at the Hotel Eiger, Murren, Switzerland. View from the balcony, bottom.

All photos here.



32 or 33 yesterday, 12 now. Besides the temps, these are two pretty different places.

Train Wreck


Maybe or maybe not in line with our recent note about the European heat wave:

The Japan Times: "Local media in Switzerland pointed to the possibility that the rails
might have been distorted by a sudden temperature change, saying the
weather cooled down abruptly during the past several days following a
hot spell. The Tribune de Geneve said in its online edition that a
number of passengers rushed to one side of the train trying to take
landscape pictures just prior to the derailment."

Whatever it was, that's awful. And we're watching because we'll be on that train in a few weeks.

Coming Up Next

In a month we'll be off on our summer holiday. This time, after a week at our little cabin on the lake in Finland, we'll sail on the two-hour fast boat the Tallink from Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn, Estonia, reprising our first visit, in 1991, when Estonia had regained its independence for scarcely three months.

For the next week we'll cross the Baltic republics by bus (a really nice bus), car and train, from Estonia to Riga, Latvia to Vilnius, Lithuania to Minsk, Belarus. From Minsk we'll fly (our old buddy) Austrian Airlines to Zurich, enjoy a couple of nights with a nice view of the peaks Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau at the Hotel Eiger in the automobile-free Alpine village of Murren, and then the Glacier Express train from Brig to Chur, ending with a few last days in Munich.

Afterward, we'll have four new Countries Galleries to add to, bringing the total to 98.

It's not as off-the-beaten-path as some trips, granted. But it's built for pleasure. Please join us via these pages, beginning in August.

Road Trip Starts Next Week. First Stop: Switzerland


It’s almost time to leave the farm and head back out on the road. We’ll be underway at the end of next week. First stop, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, where we’ll arrive on Boxing Day. During the weeks that follow we’ll cover some 13,000 miles, from the Alps to southern Africa, back up the middle of the south Atlantic Ocean via Royal Mail Ship, and on to the U.K. aboard an RAF jet.

Come with us as we write about it here on Common Sense and Whiskey, and see photos as we go, as we visit Switzerland, Italy, Namibia, and St. Helena and Ascension islands. We’ll post them (bookmark here) on our photo site,, starting around the end of next week.

(photo from the Switzerland Gallery at

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